Some Faraway Place

Some Faraway Place by Lauren Shippen is the third book in the Bright Sessions series. Atypical Rose can suddenly find herself in people’s dreams, and things get messy.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

All quotes are from an advanced reader copy, and may or may not reflect the published edition.

From Goodreads:

Some Faraway Place, the third Bright Sessions novel from creator Lauren Shippen, features Rose, who has her humdrum life flipped upside down when she starts to travel into dreams.

Rose Atkinson’s mother can see the future. Her father can move things he doesn’t touch. Her brother Aaron can read minds. And Rose, well, she makes a mean spaghetti bolognese.

Everyone else in her family is Atypical, which means they manifested an ability that defies the limits of the human experience. At nineteen, well past the average age of manifestation, Rose is stuck defending her decision not to go to college and instead working in the kitchen of a local restaurant, hoping to gain the experience she needs to become a chef.

When a rollerblading accident sends her to the hospital, she meets a girl she can’t forget and she starts to feel like maybe her life isn’t quite so small.

But when she starts falling asleep mid-conversation, she thinks, then again maybe I’m doomed to never have good things.

Rose should be happy to learn that she’s Atypical after all—that diving into dreams makes her a part of her family in the way she always wanted. But the more time she spends in the dreamworld, the more complicated her ability becomes. Trying to balance her work, her power, and a girlfriend who doesn’t know about Atypicals, Rose seeks help. But she soon discovers that being Atypical comes with dangers she never could have imagined. Even her carefully constructed dreamworld isn’t safe.

This is the story of Atypical Rose, who discovers that your dreams coming true isn’t always a good thing.

“I’m afraid that if I don’t figure out who I am right now, I’m going to lose you, I’m going to disappoint my mom, and I’m going to miss any chance I had at being friends with Aaron, which I think is the only thing I’ve wanted for my whole life, even more than being a chef.”

I would like to first disclaim that while people have said you can read these separately. I highly recommend that you don’t. To prepare to read this, I read the first two books and am incredibly glad that I did so. Additionally, you may also benefit from listening to the podcast. I did not do this, but am listening to it now, and have found that it has given me some back story that I feel the books fail to do. With that aside, I do recommend this series in general as an introduction to the podcast world, and they can be enjoyed on their own. There is just some level of expectation that you know some of these characters and their backstories, most especially in this third book. It can lead to things taking a little longer to connect for the reader.

“Eight months ago I found out that I’m a little bit magic, which was much more of a surprise than it should have been, considering everyone in my family is a little bit magic.”

This book is incredibly layered, with many contemporary aspects wrapped into an amazing sci-fi series. I enjoyed the intricacies of seeing a family who openly goes to see the AM. How this affects them and their powers. Rose is a likable character, with completely understandable character flaws. I found that she was a really unique contrast to Damien, who in the previous content is untrustworthy and manipulative. Rose has the ability to do this as well due to her power. However, she learns and grows both from her own mistakes and her friendship with Damien. I thought that it was a really nice way to show character growth especially in a series like this.

“The monster that followed me out is stuck to me for good.”

Admittedly, there were moments where the plot lulled for me. At times, this was due to the formatting of the advanced copy not translating well. Alternatively, it was due to Rose feeling like a filler character in the grand scheme of this series. I was invested, regardless, in how she grew as a person. Her meeting the other atypicals, and questioning everything her family has decided was true was entertaining to read. All in all, this book was enjoyable! I think I just would have liked it to be better formatted before being released to reviewers. Also, I would’ve preferred more context and world-building for the events in the last 25% of the book.

“And I thought that it would make me closer to them, that I’d finally feel like I belong, but it’s just made it harder to connect with anyone. So I’ve been going inside people’s heads to try and understand who they are and I think I lost myself in the process.”

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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